How and/or why did you become a therapist?
I paid a lot of money to a careers advisory firm in London in the 1990s. When they suggested “counsellor” I was surprised and didn’t accept this as a possible career for several years, but after ten years experience I’m completely sold on the idea!
What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?
Obvious to me: seeing clients overcome their difficulties / deal with their pain / find a job / make a success of a relationship / etc, etc.
What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?
I would say helping the individual to stand back and observe their own contribution and how it affects the other party; also encouraging compassion both with ourselves and others over mistakes committed.
What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?
Send love to the other person when you are in conflict or feel bullied / intimidated by another. Sounds very New Age etc, but I think it works because when you really mean it, your whole demeanour changes and non-verbal communication – under the control of your sub-conscious mind (sometimes known as the infinite intelligence) will be picked up at the sub-conscious level by your antagonist’s mind who may therefore become more affable as a result. Remarkable things have happened through the sending of positive vibes.
What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?
That more and more people – including some you would never have suspected – are getting the benefit from therapy and realising that, if you can find a good fit with a therapist, it really can transform your life.
What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?
Not turning up for a session! I try very hard to avoid this one, but even with the best laid plans things can go wrong (traffic jams, calendar failure) but after about 4000 sessions I think I have only got it wrong 2-3 times and almost always managed to alert the client. Another is giving free advice. If I make suggestions to a client, I aim to always make it clear that it is just that – a suggestion. However I would never tell a client to leave a partner, for example. But I may reflect back to them that this is what they are telling me they want to do and open it up for discussion.
I am a BACP accredited counsellor/psychotherapist trained in psychodynamic studies at Oxford University and have taken a brief course in CBT with the world-renowned Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre. Previously I had obtained a British Psychological Society (BPS) recognised degree in psychology and in 2001 completed a Masters in Cognitive Science. I have also received training in Couple Counselling with the Berkshire Counselling Centre.
You can learn more about me at http://www.oxford-counselling-solutions.co.uk.